When it comes to ascertaining the strength of concrete, professionals have two primary methods at their disposal: compression testing of concrete cubes and utilising embedded sensors. Both approaches come with their unique pros and cons.
This article offers a balanced comparison of these two techniques, aiming to provide clarity on which method suits various construction circumstances.
Concrete cube testing, following the British standard, is a conventional technique widely adopted in the UK and globally. This method involves creating sample cubes from the concrete mix, which are then subjected to a compressive force using a specialised machine. The result provides an indicative measure of the concrete's strength.
A more contemporary approach to assess concrete's strength is the application of sensor technology. These sensors, embedded within the concrete structure, gather real-time data about the concrete's strength, temperature, and moisture levels.
Choosing between cube testing and using sensors often depends on the project specifics, like size, budget, and time constraints. While the traditional compression testing of concrete cubes offers a simple, standardised method, sensor technology promises real-time data and increased accuracy.
In an ideal world, using both in conjunction might provide the most comprehensive picture of concrete strength. The cube test could serve as an initial strength indicator, while sensors could monitor the concrete's strength evolution over time.
As construction technology continues to advance, the synergy of these two methods might become the new norm, ensuring concrete structures of the highest strength and integrity.
However, sensors are most beneficial on projects where load bearing activities on concrete are on the critical path. Mainly because the real-time data allows people to take action as quickly as possible saving vast amounts of time.
Remember, the choice of method always comes down to what best fits your specific construction scenario. Here's to stronger, safer, and more efficient construction practices!
Our wireless, cast-in-place concrete sensors, measure and record the temperature and within the concrete in real-time. These sensors relay the data wirelessly to a nearby hub that collects data from all sensors deployed in the vicinity.
The data is used to calculate the strength of the concrete based on the maturity method. The maturity method is a principle based on the fact that concrete gains strength with time and temperature. By knowing the concrete mix’s specific strength gain relationship with time and temperature (usually supplied by the mix provider), it is possible to calculate the in-place strength of the concrete in real-time.
The collected data is then transmitted to a cloud-based platform, ConcreteDNA which allows engineers and construction teams to view and analyze the data in real-time.
Read more: We explain the maturity curve and How using sensors improves the measuring of concrete maturity.
Modern concrete sensors are designed to be unobtrusive and do not compromise the structural integrity of the concrete. They are usually embedded at the time of concrete placement.
Absolutely! Using both methods can provide a comprehensive understanding of the concrete's strength. Cube testing provides an initial quality check, and sensor data can track the concrete's strength development over time.
The British standard BS EN 12390 outlines procedures for making, curing and testing concrete cubes for compressive strength. It specifies details such as the shape, size, material, and curing conditions of the test samples.
In this article we answer the question “Can you trust the maturity method?”. We discuss the limitations and benefits of the method.
We discuss the benefits and challenges of the concrete cube test. We also give tips on how to handle the challenges.